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SanCho14jfm
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I have been doing children's birthday parties for a little over a year now. The one thing I have found is that I have decent "meat" in my act, but I don't think that my opener and closer get the reaction that I would like. Does anyone have any suggestions about a great opener or closer to a kid show or some idea's on how to make it better. As of now I start my show with 20th century silks, and I end it with Peanut Butter and Jelly. I feel that neither of these really fit in those categories.

Any ideas?

Thanks a lot.

-SanCho
magic4u02
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Great question. But let me first start by asking what YOUR idea of a good opener or closer should be, and what you hope that they both accomplish for you. I ask this because your definition of what a good opener should be for your own unique show may be different from mine or others who may post.

If we can get some ideas as to what your feelings are towards it and what you want each to accomplish for you, we might be able to help you better.

Thanks for posting this. It should bring about some great discussion.

Kyle
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kenscott
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Well, I think what he is asking is for some pop in opening. 20th century silk is good but maybe use the silks that say Happy birthday on them and then turn the silks into a 36inch happy birthday silk. Also if you can, adding music to your act always spices things up.

As always keep the birthday child in mind for your act. You are there for him. For a closer the Drawing Board has always been one of my favorites. Also consider playing a game where the kids line behind the birthday child and march into the birthday cake area playing the freeze game, but have them playing without talking. Sometimes it is the way that you can handle the kids and can be a good closer. I do like to create their living room into a theater. I want their room to look and feel like a magic show.

Hope this helps.

Ken
SanCho14jfm
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Thanks for the posting. For my opening I would like a quick effect that grabs their attention and leave them in anticipation for the rest of the show. I would like the closer to be jaw-dropping. A beautiful piece of magic and performance in one. I would like to stay away from the comedy in both opening and closing, though.

Thanks again.

-SanCho
Decomposed
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Great brainstorming here.

Ken is right about music. I open with introduction by local Dee Jay (CD). Then I do a little intro with a goldfish production and then lead right into magic to music.

My closer has always been square circle producing gags, streamers, birthday silk, etc. One magician watched my show and even asked me how I got sooo much stuff in the circle.

This is also to music.

I do my rabbit production near the beginning of the show. Keeps the kids wondering what could be next. Smile
TomBoleware
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Another idea that I’ve used with the 20th century silks is to tie them together as a before-show thing, as you go over the rules, etc, and then place them in a glass in full view for the whole show. Then after you close the show, as a final bit, vanish the silk and show it tied between. Makes a nice after-the-big-finish thing, plus the glass of silks causes some suspense during the show.

Yes, open with music and blow their mind from the start.

Tom
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kenscott
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Well, comedy is not bad. Remember it is a birthday party. Kids love funny. To them everything is magic.

I too produce my bunny at the opening. Most magicians don't do it then so the kids and adults never see it coming.

ken
Danny Diamond
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I started using Dan Harlan's Starcle, as the opener to all of my kid's shows, and I love it! It's beautiful, unique, and an interesting effect, and it doesn't come off as a "challenge" to the spectators. I added a bit more comedy to my presentation of it to better fit my character. I also make sure the star ends up in the hands of the birthday child (those who know Starcle, will understand). I also used to use the "Yes Game" by BJ Hickman, as an opener for a while. The "Yes Game" has a lot of comedy and interaction with a volunteer.

Oh, and I also produce my bunny towards the beginning of my show. I do this for the reasons Ken listed above, as well as the fact that the load area is not huge in my production box, and I don't want to leave my bunny in there for a full 45+ minutes until the end of the show.

I am looking for a good closer as well. Right now I use a Dove Pan to make cookies for all of the kids (I always check with the parents first). When I ask what tricks they liked, they most often respond with "the one where you made the cookies!".

Now, I am pretty sure that it is not the routine they love, but more the chocolate chip cookies! The actual effect is good, but I have not been able to work out a great routine on my own for it. It works, but it is the routine I am least confident in right now.

I hope this thread continues, because I need a good closer too!
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you drown by staying there.



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Peter Marucci
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As an opener, I use the Miser's Dream, for several reasons:

First, it is about as perfect a trick as you want: You start relatively clean and you finish totally clean. You need nothing but six or seven coins and a metal bucket.

I catch the attention of the kids right off the bat; they want to know what I'm doing, waving my hand around in the air.

I involve them by pulling coins out of their hair, from behind their ears, etc.
I do it quickly and this establishes me as a bona fide magician in about 30 seconds.

For a closer, I use multiple gag wands, leading to a "giant wand" that is so big it has three ends. I point out each end, saying, "This is the end, and this is the end" and then pull off one of the ends, snapping out a giant silk that says The End as I say "and this is . . . The End".

There are those who mock this approach, asking if it is really necessary to tell the audience that your show is over! Well, frequently it is! And you all know it!
Besides, this leaves you in the "applause" position, to close the show.
kenscott
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Misers Dream...Yes, that is a good one! Peter, do you ever give the kid a coin for the pail?

Gene Anderson has in his book how to make one straight cut in a newspaper, and it makes a star. This is perfect for making the birthday child the star of the show. Also it is a great photo opportunity.

Ken
Scott O.
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I start my shows with the 20th Century Silks performed to upbeat music. Each silk is produced magically with the first one coming just 5 seconds into the routine. Then a bare-handed vanish of the "odd" colored silk. When the music finishes on a high point and I'm standing there holding the three silks tied together, it is a natural applause cue (and a heck of a good, colorful, piece of magic).

Kids and adults seem to enjoy this. But every appearance and vanish is timed to a musical "hit" to accent the magical moments.

So the 20th Century Silks can be an effective opener.

Scott Smile.
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
SanCho14jfm
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Thank you everyone. I really appreciate the comments that have been posted. The Miser's Dream as an opener sounds awesome. Thanks a lot, Peter, for that suggestion.
BIlly James
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Quote:
On 2005-01-20 21:19, TomBoleware wrote:
Another idea that I’ve used with the 20th cen silks, is to tie them together as a before show thing, as you go over the rules, etc, and then place them in a glass in full view for the whole show. Then after you close the show, as a final bit, vanish the silk and show it tied between. Makes a nice after the big finish thing, plus the glass of silks causes some suspense during the show.

Tom


On another thread, someone posted an idea about having something in view throughout the show, and you tell the kids not to let you touch it, because if you touch it the show will end.

That would be great with Tom's idea. Every now and then you say, "I need a hanky for this trick" and then go to get the silks from the glass but the kids will all shout NO.

Then at the end of your show when you vanish the silk (which could be done in sync with a little goodbye spiel or poem) you snatch the silks from the glass.

There's your production and also the sign that the show has finished.
Peter Marucci
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Ken Scott writes: "Misers Dream...Yes, that is a good one! Peter, do you ever give the kid a coin for the pail?"

Not quite sure what you mean by that. However, I DO finish by dumping the coins into my hand and giving one to a youngster with the query "Is that real?" (It is.) When he acknowledges that it is real, I say, "Well, you keep it -- I can always make more." This intrigues the kids and absolutely "wows" the adults.
kenscott
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Sorry, Peter, I can't type. Do you ever give the kid one of the coins FROM the pail as a gift for helping?

ken
chichi711
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I check with a parent first. But I have always done a gold fish production for a gift to the child. I have been searching for a new opening for a while and move the gold fish production to a later point in the show.
Decomposed
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Misers Dream, thanks for bringing this gem up, Peter. It's part of my intro to music (along with mouth coils, sponge vanish, knotty knot, appearing cane, etc).

Miser's Dream could have plenty of patter, but I just include it to music with others I don't have any real patter for.
Peter Marucci
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Ken Scott writes: "Do you ever give the kid one of the coins FROM the pail as a gift for helping?"

Sure, every time. It only costs a dollar and the effect is priceless (see my post, above).

Candini,

The great thing about the Miser's Dream is the number of ways it can be done; it is just as effective as a silent act to music as it is in a patter act.
Popo
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I open with the mis-made flag. It is a riot and the kids love it. The birthday child is the one who finally helps me get it right and establishes him/her as the star of the show to come. I end with the vanishing bandanna. I do want to add that openers and closers depend on who you are and the type of show you do. I am a clownish, oafish, bumbling magician with the kids, so I try to do a lot of routines where I am "messing up" and the birthday child saves me.
Tom Stevens
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I start with a bit of juggling and then turning juggling balls into spring snakes.

If there are one and two-year olds they sometimes get frightened by spring snakes, so I start with a quick silk to wand followed by a volunteer helping me do a reverse blendo and back to silk.

I like the idea of the big wand with three ends. Mind if I use it?
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